2020 Fennie Community Fund
Legal-name: Brave Global
Address: 668 Obispo Avenue
City: Long Beach
Mission: The mission of BRAVE Global is to empower at-risk youth in order to stop exploitation and trafficking.
Grant-purpose: To combat the risk of exploitation and trafficking, together with additional risks of homelessness, drug use and prostitution, BRAVE Global is producing interactive journals for girls and boys, educating them on the importance of mental health, respect for others, self-care and empowerment.
New-existing: New, Existing
What-is-project: Since 2014 in Long Beach, California, BRAVE Global has held day-long conferences for at-risk girls, primarily from the foster care system, to educate, encourage, and empower them to avoid the many pitfalls the system. Sex trafficking, substance abuse, homelessness and prostitution are real dangers for this demographic. The primary educational tools we utilize are two interactive journals given to each participant. “Brave, This Is Me” and “Brave, This is Us” are currently being used by girls together with their caregivers. These interactive journals cover everything from balancing a checkbook to having healthy friendships to supporting body positivity, encouraging each young person to live strong and free. We now have a third book in process centered on mental health issues that this grant could help produce. According to the U.S. Administration for Children and Families (ACF), by age 21, at least 26% of young people who aged out of foster care in the United States experienced a period or more of homelessness; a third lacked a high school diploma; and 25% had no health insurance. A quarter of these youth already had given birth to a child. To date, in total, over 2,000 girls have been reached with the Brave message which we believe has given them the tools that will help them avoid becoming one of these statistics. Through our conferences, resource materials and follow-up studies, our goal is to show these girls they are valued and have a purpose greater than what the statistics show. Due to our current inability to hold live events during the pandemic, we are pivoting quickly to continue to reach at-risk individuals, navigating the digital world in a new way in the hopes of impacting even more young people. Until we have our digital presence solidified, the journals have become even more crucial.
Additionally we have responded to the question from caretakers and public health officials, “What about the boys?” In 2019, BRAVE created its first journal and educational program for young men. The TRUE Adventure Guide is a workbook geared specifically toward helping young men stay TRUE to their purpose, understanding the importance of equality and why it is essential to find mentors, or adventure guides, who will assist them as they mature and live life freely, equally and respectfully alongside young women in their community. 2020 is our time to expand this vision for boys still further. We are in the process of revamping our TRUE guides based on the age and development of the participant and hope to soon have three separate, age-appropriate workbooks for boys, adolescents and young men.
It is our hope that, by continuing to educate and empower both young men and women through these books and the supervised follow-up, Long Beach will begin to see a cessation of the high rates of mental illness, suicide, homelessness and other diseases that accompany our at-risk youth. We believe the Fennie Community Fund Grant could help do just that.
How-will-you-succeed: We will measure our success of exposure to local at-risk youth through our partnerships with local child welfare agencies, DCFS (Department of Child & Family Services) and Probation. Currently Brave has contracts with both the South County & Torrance branches of DCFS, where they are using our interactive journals as curriculum for their clients. Additionally, we have relationships built with several officers of the Long Beach Department of Probation (youth & adult departments), and continue to sit on their task forces & committees as a resource for empowerment materials. Reporting to LBCF will include updates on initiatives built through these relationships, including reporting on the number of female & male interactive journals ordered by all agencies. We can maintain the ability to track these numbers after production of the third BRAVE book and the three TRUE Adventure guides.
We continue to apply for grants and pursue other charitable donations from the local and global community to assist us in funding each of our initiatives. Once created and printed, the four interactive journals for which we are asking help will self-sustain until they are each distributed. The exposure that we will have garnered from the PR and Marketing of these resources will have propelled us into larger-scale platforms where we can continue sales of the books as a sustaining stream of revenue.
Who-are-you: BRAVE Global, a catalytic movement for girls, was created by a few women in Long Beach, California in response to the human trafficking epidemic pervasive in our under-served and at-risk youth populations. The statistics for sexual exploitation of at-risk youth, particularly those in our foster care system, is staggering. 70-80% of all indoor and street prostituted individuals come from the system. BRAVE is helping educate these young women, working to prevent human trafficking, homelessness, substance abuse, prostitution and other forms of abuse before it begins. We connect these conference participants and their caregivers with educational, mental and trauma response services that will help them to live their best lives possible, despite their circumstances. Our partners in this work in Long Beach include LBUSD, the Department of Child and Family Services, Probation and Health and Human Services.
BRAVE began hosting day-long events for girls in these populations in 2014, focusing on BRAVE’s three pillars: equality and dignity; hope and empowerment; inclusion and mutuality. Brave has grown from one small event in Long Beach to include partners serving youth in 21 cities nationwide and six additional countries. At the events, participants receive an interactive journal, food and gift takeaways. They are treated to live music, dance, inspiring guest speakers and fun. Further provided is education, support and follow-up for caretakers of these young people.
In 2019, BRAVE created its first journal and educational program for young men. The pilot book and program were rolled out in India, and is currently in the process of revising the original guide to three age-appropriate books for boys, adolescents and young men. Our hope is that these workbooks will help at-risk boys to stay TRUE to their purpose and understand the importance of equality. We hope to also encourage mentoring from men in the community to guide them as they mature.
BRAVE has the opportunity to augment our current events and resources with two additional continuing education opportunities. The BRAVE Leadership Academy seeks to implement a two-year program for selected applicants run by BRAVE Coaches and supervised by BRAVE mentors for the teenage and young adult participants. Beginning in the fall, each year will be divided into a four-quarter system and will involve one-on-one mentoring, group zoom calls, webinars and supervised study materials to empower participants and give them leadership and peacemaking skills, self-confidence and education to combat exploitation on a national scale. Also implemented by August of 2020 is the BRAVE and TRUE scholar series, a webinar program with detailed information about higher education, resources, financial aid, trade school and military alternatives, helping these youth develop both their short- and long-term goals. Our organization continues to grow in the desire to educate, inform and empower youth everywhere.